Fantasy Football Position Streaming
Written By: Josh Crocker – Follow Josh on Twitter @jccrocker
Two really different styles of defensive streaming have taken shape this year, at least for me. Style A is the more traditional, low over-under, this team won’t score a lot of points. That style is good, sometimes it’s all that’s available. But, style B is a lot more fun and there are a few of these this week. Style B consists of picking a defense to play against a team that may actually end up scoring a fair number of points, but in the process they’re also likely to allow a few sacks, commit turnovers, and give your defense a better chance at capturing upside.
Dallas vs Baltimore
This is a Style A pick. Baltimore has slid into Houston’s spot as the worst offense in terms of DVOA, despite having their highest scoring game of the season last week against the Browns. Looking at how opponents have fared against them we see that defenses facing Baltimore score 4.3 points above their average, that’s pretty juicy. Those points are coming from a few places. Number one, interceptions from Flacco, who has thrown 5 picks in his last 3 games. Number 2, they’re coming from sacks, and we’ve seen 6 of those in the last 5 outings. Third, the Ravens are just not scoring a lot of points. Even with their week 11 season high, they are only scoring the 25th most points per game. I would be shocked if they are able to repeat anything near that performance against the Cowboys, mostly because they won’t have time. The Cowboys are possessing the ball more than any other team save one. So, it’s really not about this Cowboys defensive unit at all. You’ve got an ineffective offense that is pass heavy. We can count on Flacco for about 44 attempts, and he’s getting picked off 1 in every 42 so far this year. The Cowboys just have to be there, we’re not asking for anything spectacular.
Miami @ LA
This is more of the Style B, with a little added something. It looks like we may see a brand new NFL QB, Mr. Goff. While it feels like a rookie QB is definitely a plus for the defense he faces, it also means that there’s a lot we no longer know about this offense. The fact that Keenum has thrown a pick one time on every 28.4 attempts is suddenly out the window. I think we can still say that the same offensive line that has allowed 15 sacks in their last 5 games, will continue to be beatable, but if Goff is able to get rid of the ball quickly that number may drop off. For what it’s worth, the Dolphins have had 4, 3, and 3 sacks in their last three games. So we aren’t completely relying on the Rams to be a revolving door at the O-line. Goff will be in an offense that has scored the fewest points at only 15.4 ppg. I feel like there are weapons here, and that it’s possible that a big change in the offense could lead to a big change in production. Britt and Quick have flashed, although they’ve been inconsistent. Lance Kendricks, in my opinion, is at least a sufficiently talented TE. I don’t think we really need to talk about whether or not Gurley
Is talented. He has been held back by an offense that is often in a negative game script. To be honest when I have watched the Rams I haven’t thought that Keenum was so bad that he was obviously what was holding the group back. He’s no Drew Brees, he may not even pass for Sam Bradford, but my point is that with a different non-pro-bowl QB under center I don’t think we’ll see a giant change.
It all adds up to a good matchup for the Dolphins, who have been the highest scoring defense over the past 5 weeks. Schedule certainly figures into that quite a bit, but they’ve capitalized on an opportunity at a minimum. They’re currently 7th overall by DAVE, which is a long term version of DVOA. They’re sporting a pass rush that is affecting the QB 6.3% of the time, which puts them in the middle of the pack but less than 3% from the top. If they’re still available in your league for this week, they shouldn’t be.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland
Picking on Cleveland is a trend that everyone has figured out. But, things change in the NFL, we need to be reassessing and adjusting our mindsets. So, let me give you some reasons why I think Cleveland is still a good target. For one thing, Cleveland is allowing the most sacks over the last 5 weeks with 17. More than just the points that gets your defense, allowing pressure on the QB represents potential for even bigger opportunities. Another reason to like Cleveland as a target is that their offense ranks 23rd (by DVOA -7.6). Besides being ineffective they’re throwing the ball the 4th most as a percentage of their team’s plays, attempting 38 pass plays per game, giving defenses plenty of chances to create the one big play they need to make a top 12 performance. The Browns are regularly put into one dimensional situations, where the Defensive Line isn’t worried about run defense, their ears are pinned back, sacks are on their mind. It’s a credit to Kessler that he’s only thrown one pick being in this many bad situations and under this much pressure. Of course, part of that is that he isn’t going downfield much. Regardless, the lack of a downfield threat is just another reason why this works for Pittsburgh. I know the Pittsburgh defense isn’t good, and they aren’t playing behind an offensive unit that manufactures slow methodical drives the way the Cowboys do. But what they are, is playing the Browns.
New York Giants vs Chicago with Cutler and without Alshon, not bad
Oakland vs Houston. This is probably your only chance to throw the Raiders D in the lineup, the Texans are not a scary offense.
Written By: Josh Crocker – Josh can be found on Twitter @jccrocker